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Tiny Ruins - School of Design
Tiny Ruins - School of Design

Tiny Ruins - School of Design


"School of Design" is the latest single from the New Zealand based group, Tiny Ruins. Frontwoman, Hollie Fullbrook is more than a musician, she is a storyteller. Fullbrook's voice is gentle and soothing. The vivid lyrics describe a place that is supposed to evoke distinct thought and creativity. But the institution itself is a very controlled uniform space, "Everything was white / And all the clocks were well designed / All ticking in time." The guitar is captivating and gives the song the motion it needs to progress in contrast to Fullbrook's subdued vocals. Look out for the full album, Olympic Girls on February 1!

Sophia Theofanos on January 8, 2019
Murray A. Lightburn - Bellevue Blues

Murray A. Lightburn - Bellevue Blues


Outside of Montreal, Murray A. Lightburn is predominantly known for fronting chamber-pop band The Dears and for sounding a whole lot like Morrissey. Ghosts of past success and musical icons could haunt a less versatile musician into irrelevance, but in “Bellevue Blues” Lightburn bares his soul and his soulful influences to dispel any doubts in his ability to continue creating. Of his upcoming release, due out in February, he told his label that it is an album with “no guitar solos at all, and very few instrumental passages. It’s just singing on top of songs.” "Bellevue Blues" is a simple song pairing the sound of the soul and motown hits so beloved in his childhood with the most complex subtleties of adulthood. Lightburn refuses to allow the simplicity to detract from the emotional weight, though, as he bursts into a chorus that would make even the toughest member of Snow Patrol well up a little bit. “I need you / To save me from myself,” he sings, though he is perfectly capable of holding his own.

Daniel Shanker on December 7, 2018
Johnny Gates - Baseball

Johnny Gates - Baseball


While the title of Johnny Gates's new song may mislead you, this song has less to do about sports and more to do about memories and the people that inhabit them. "It seems like we all have those people in our lives...sometimes you keep them / sometimes you lose them like I lost you." While taking this person to a Yankee game was a memory he'll hold onto, the present exists without them, creating the wistful emotions heard in this song. Having gained popularity from the TV show The Voice, Johnny Gates has come off of the big stage to deliver us music that is raw and emotional. He intentionally uses baseball to tie into his reality and tell us, "I grew up playing baseball, and I remember hearing pretty quickly from my dad, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. And I think life is a lot like that. So when writing this song, I wanted to reference my favorite sport, and some specific examples from my life, where, even if I didn’t come out with a win, I still have some amazing memories to hang on to." When Gates sings, the soft grit in his voice is a notable feature to the beauty of the song. With just a guitar and a universal feeling, "Baseball" is the kind of swoony, stuck-in-your-feelings kind of  song that doesn't get old.

Dara Bankole on December 6, 2018
Girlpool - Hire

Girlpool - Hire


Longtime fans of Girlpool, allow us to reintroduce you to your new favorite indie grunge band. The group’s newest single, “Hire,” is a rock anthem for the millennial age, and a far cry from the softer songs of past records that gave the group its signature sound, like “123” and “Cut Your Bangs.” This sonic maturation comes in the wake of vocalist and guitarist Cleo Tucker’s public transition. Now, Tucker’s vocals are nearly unrecognizable as they sing an octave lower, adding strength and grit to a group that, until now, has veered toward distinctively smooth vocal melodies. Listen closely to “Hire” and you’ll still hear instrumental lines that feel familiar. For example, the song opens with the same muted, messy guitar picking that frequents so much of Girlpool’s discography, and it nicely introduces the drums with a catchy mid-tempo beat. “Hire” not only acts as a representative for organic growth in songwriting, but it proves Girlpool are masters of transcending genre.

Britnee Meiser on December 6, 2018
Misty Mtn - We'll Call It Even

Misty Mtn - We'll Call It Even


Brooklyn based indie pop duo Misty Mtn lives up to their name with their newest track, delivering a single that is as forlorn and emotionally charged as the name implies. The song brings about the atmosphere of a rainy day, with the mixing of the song being intentionally stripped down and simple. The simplicity of the song contributes to its feeling of loneliness and isolation, bringing the listener into the world of emotions presented in the song. The duo uses the limited range of sound a duo is capable of, presenting lovely and dreamy synth sounds that go far beyond what a four or five piece band could do with the same material.

Lucas Nyhus on December 6, 2018
Cautious Clay - Reasons

Cautious Clay - Reasons


Explosive and dramatic, Cautious Clay’s newly released single, “Reasons” breaks out of the box musically and lyrically showing further versatility from the multi-talented artist and producer. Hudson Mohawke lends a hand in the writing along with Tobias Jesso Jr.; Mohawke’s boisterous trademark drops making an appearance and add dimension to the track. Strategically placed choirs of echoing backing vocals and abrupt cut-offs juxtaposed against more calming guitar-driven choruses make this song all the more exciting to listen to. “Did it all for the no good reasons” Clay belts, exploring an undeniably human need to do something — even if it makes life more dramatic, interesting or even complicated — for no good reason.  Though short, there's an innate reliability to the song and the drama it invokes, not unlike the drama Clay sings of.

Jazzmyne Pearson on December 5, 2018
Olivia Grace - Higher Ground

Olivia Grace - Higher Ground


Los Angeles alt-pop artist Olivia Grace recently released her latest single "Higher Ground." After a toxic relationship ended Grace sings of the new place she's in mentally. “I wrote Higher Ground about putting myself first. At the time, I kept compromising what I wanted and making myself smaller to lift someone else up. Writing Higher Ground was therapeutic when I decided that I needed to keep moving forward in my life," Graces says. As she sings out her realizations above glitchy electro beats and we've given not only a message that we can fully get behind, but a song to dance to. Whether you can see this song being in a girl-power television series or even on your self-empowerment playlist, the overall concept belongs everywhere and anywhere. As Olivia Grace emerges in a saturated indie-pop music scene, we're confident that with songs like "Higher Ground" she'll soon be a standout. 

Dara Bankole on December 5, 2018
Zunis - Headspace

Zunis - Headspace


The glitchy cheering at the beginning of Zunis’s “Headspace” fades out to introduce you to a dreamy indie-rock world filled with jazzy drums and reverbed out guitar. “Headspace” is from Tulsa, OK based band Zunis’s sophomore release through Cult Love Sound Tapes “Earth to Self.” The album’s surreal cover is a perfect backdrop to the spacey psychedelic world it creates through ambient keys behind jazzy guitar strums that develop into a giant soundscape that pulls you in and makes you feel like you’re floating above the ground. The song feels so effortless, like it gracefully poured out of the band and into your headphones. This ethereal track is an infectious indie earworm that you will be adding to more than one of your playlists. If this psychedelic-indie-jazz-rock tune is right up your alley, we highly recommend you check out the whole album and get ready to see Zunis jet into stardom in 2019.

Kyra Bruce on December 5, 2018
Adam Melchor - Real Estate

Adam Melchor - Real Estate


Jersey native turned Los Angeles migrant, Adam Melchor releases his touching new single "Real Estate" today. With a voice that resembles the renown Ben Gibbard, the there is a softness to his tone and his vocal inflections that translates into a beautiful tranquility in the face of the unknown. Accompanied by a finger-picked acoustic guitar, Melchor's voice ebbs and flows throughout the song and gives way to the lightness of his falsetto. In "Real Estate" we hear someone who's ready to risk it all, but who's aware of what it may cost. Melchor himself says,  "I wrote 'Real Estate' on one of my first drives from New Jersey to California...This song is the personification of moving; moving to a place where you don’t what’s going to happen, and moving from a place where you don’t know how much is going to be there if you come back." A true folk song, "Real Estate" is full of the emotions that come with the uncertainty of saying goodbye, hoping that what's ahead is better and brighter.

Dara Bankole on December 4, 2018
Okey Dokey - When They Get Older

Okey Dokey - When They Get Older


With an intro nearly taunting you to start humming Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” Okey Dokey’s “When They Get Older” wears its influences proudly. Mixing sounds from the Motown and doo-wop classics of Hitsville, U.S.A. with the hazy leisure of California surfer rock, and finally hitting a little closer to their Nashville home with a hint of Elvis’ Graceland croon in the bridge, they pack a whole country’s worth of rock-and-roll history into only two-and-a-half minutes. Of course, with Rayland Baxter featuring prominently on vocals, the Nashville sound wins out and the whole crew smiles their way through the complexities of growing up. They rattle off a list of the things they look forward to in old age — a home, a family and the calm sort of love that replaces the horribly exciting kind only after years and years together — but then retract their wishes with a shrug when they realize that “creature comforts” and “picket fences” imply the calm sort of everything that replaces the wonderfully exciting adventures of youth. They want to get older, just maybe not so fast.

Daniel Shanker on December 4, 2018
Diamond Cafe - The Way You Used to Love

Diamond Cafe - The Way You Used to Love


Diamond Cafe is the solo project of musician Tristan Thompson, who performs under the mononym of Diamond. The music of Diamond Cafe feels like a modern take of classic 80's synthpop. His most recent single, "The Way You Used To Love Me" fully imparts this feeling, leaving the listener longing for a bygone era of music while looking ahead to what artists like himself have in store. It has the punchy drum machines, the dreamy synths, and with Thompson's pitch perfect vocals, it sounds like Diamond Cafe is the complete musical package for someone seeking a refuge from doom, gloom, and the dangers of modern music.

Lucas Nyhus on December 4, 2018

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